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Daily Archives: November 14, 2012

The Hudson (NY) Register-Star fired reporter Tom Casey after he refused to allow his byline on a budget meeting story that had two paragraphs inserted by an editor, who apparently wanted to create controversy for an editorial. Here are the inserted grafs:

At the start of the meeting some in the audience were upset over Third Ward Alderman John Friedman’s decision not to stand for the pledge of allegiance. While Hudson City Code does not require council members to stand for the pledge, Fifth Ward Alderman Robert Donahue, who had complained about the matter at a previous meeting and asked Friedman why he did not stand, was visibly upset.

No comment could be reached from either party concerning the matter, and it did not interfere with the meeting.

Tom Casey on assignment

Sam Pratt reports “Casey had been under pressure by higher-ups at the paper to make an issue of Friedman’s choice, which the Alderman had exercised at some but not all previous meetings. Getting the matter into the body of a news story would give the paper’s management a predicate for writing an editorial about it. The day after the dispute, Casey was reportedly fired by editor Theresa Hyland at the insistence of publisher Roger Coleman.”

I talked briefly to Hyland, who told me she wasn’t the newspaper’s spokesperson “and I can’t discuss personnel matters.” I left a message for Coleman.

Friedman says Casey “did not deserve to lose his job for doing what he was trained and hired to do.” The alderman posted this comment on a local blog:

Frankly, I think the Pledge is vitally important to America and Americans precisely because — as a nation of immigrants — we have few things in common besides our desire to be here, to live here and to participate in society here. But I also think rote recitation of anything — the Pledge, the Boy Scout motto, the lyrics from my favorite Grateful Dead song — slowly diminishes the meaning of the words. So sometimes I participate and sometimes I don’t.

Friedman

I feel absolutely terrible that Tom — a very nice young man who just recently moved to Hudson himself — is being used so terribly by his former employers. He is the one paying the price; he and all who are now deprived of his cogent and professional reporting.

Finally, it seems to me, the real “news” in this entire story is that a man who stood up for what he believes in, who practiced what he was taught to believe as an American and as a practitioner of a profession central to the proper operation of our form of government, should be so shabbily treated. Tom did not deserve to lose his job for doing what he was trained and hired to do.

* Tom Casey firing roils the Register-Star (sampratt.com)
* Read comments about Casey’s firing (gossipsofrivertown.com)
* Earlier: Casey talks about his work at the Register-Star (thelittlerebellion.com)

The Washington Post has hired two more reporters for its Ford Foundation-funded government-accountability reporting team.

The new hires:

KIMBRIELL KELLY, who leaves The Chicago Reporter after eight years. “Kimbriell rose from reporter to senior editor to editor to editor and publisher, responsible for the magazine’s strategic vision, editorial content and budget,” says the Post memo.

AMY BRITTAIN has been a Newark Star Ledger investigative reporter since 2010. Before that she interned at the Christian Science Monitor and Arizona Republic, and freelanced for the Times-Picayune. She’s also covered the San Diego Padres for mlb.com. In 2006, at age 19, she was a “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” contestant.

Read the Post memo after the jump. Read More

Q: Did you let people copy off you in college statistics, or were you selfish and covered up your paper?

NATE SILVER: In middle school, I once put down a bunch of fake/wrong answers on a math test since I knew that people were peeking.

By my senior year in college, however, I was reasonably burned out so it was buyer beware if anyone was trying to cheat.

* Nate Silver is here to answer your questions (deadspin)

Letter to Romenesko

From JOE HASS: Dustin Long of si.com wrote a post about the events of the previous day at the Nascar race at Phoenix International Raceway. Well down in the item he has a long quote from driver Brad Keselowski:

It’s the double standard that I spent a whole week being bashed by a half a dozen drivers about racing hard at Texas and how I’m out of control and have a death wish, and then I see bulls— like that. That’s [expletive] bulls—. That’s all you can call that. These guys just tried to kill each other. You race hard and I get called an a–hole for racing hard and called with a death wish, and I see s— like that, and it just pisses me off. It’s just [expletive] ridiculous. And they should be ashamed. It’s embarrassing.

I found it odd that certain words get the dash treatment, but others get a full replacement. Any of your readers know of other places that have this double-standard of naughty words?

I’ve invited Long to respond.

The Denver Post is trying to sell its 7.3% stake in the Colorado Rockies baseball team — a move that Denver’s alt-weekly hears is motivated by “dire” financial problems. The paper’s CEO, Ed Moss, says “there couldn’t be anything further from the truth.”

Moss tells Michael Roberts: “The attempt to potentially sell our stake really has everything to do with what I stated in our press release, and what [MediaNews CEO] John Paton has been talking about, which is that we’re focusing on our core business.”

* CEO: Denver Post’s decision to sell Rockies isn’t a sign of financial turmoil (westword.com)
* Denver Post shopping its minority stake in Rockies (denverpost.com)

Just one of the many tweets reacting to New York Times restaurant critic Pete Wells’ skewering of Guy’s American Kitchen & Bar:

“No response from Mr. Fieri or the restaurant,” Wells tells me. I called Guy’s and Ivan Cordero, one of the managers, declined comment on the review. Update: He called back with the name of a publicist to contact. I’ve asked her for comment. (Guy’s is located in the former New York Times headquarters.)

UPDATE: I asked famous (and restaurant-friendly) Olive Garden reviewer Marilyn Hagerty what she thought of Wells’ critique. The Grand Forks Herald restaurant reviewer hasn’t responded to my email yet. || UPDATE II: She’s too busy to answer emails today. I just read that Anderson Cooper surprised her on his show with a 12-day Mediterranean cruise package. (I didn’t know until now that she’s a show regular.) || UPDATE III: I never did hear from the Guy’s publicist.

Marilyn Hagerty sent this email at 10:03 p.m. Thursday:

Hi Jim …I just now got home from New York where I was on Anderson Cooper show today …We were talking about the combined Olive Garden and Red Lobster under one roof … Something new Darden is doing in small markets…so just for fun I went to Waycross, Ga., and reported on it …

So I haven’t been aware of anything else because I have been on five airplanes the past four days …. The review is very interesting, but I wonder why a person would write a completely negative review. I don’t know what is the point. I guess there are many ways of thinking! Marilyn

The Robesonian, a Tuesday through Sunday newspaper in Lumberton, North Carolina, announced this week that it’s banning comments about race on stories that don’t have a racial element.

“We are not obligated to provide a forum for bigotry and hatred,” says Donnie Douglas, editor of the Heartland-owned paper. “This is something we have thought about for a while, but recently it’s become clear that we need to crack down. Unfortunately, we have a few people who comment regularly who turn everything into a racial issue. That just seems to create a feeding frenzy.”

Douglas told me over the phone this morning that he’s always approved comments before they’re posted, and was told by a press association lawyer to be “very liberal” about what comments are let on the site. Thus, he says, “I was very generous. I’m probably the one who let this get out of control.”

He never approved comments with the N word, but “if we posted a picture of two young blacks [arrested for a crime], you’d get the typical, ‘Surprise! surprise!’ comments, or ‘Where are your mothers?’” and those remarks would be approved for posting.

“We can have a story about anything, and it turns into a race issue.”

Douglas

The editor adds: “What you have here is a tri-racial community [40% American Indian; 33% white; 24% black], you have an impoverished community, you have an uneducated community — you have a lot of things in a stew” that result in uncivil online discussions.

“It was a slow avalanche,” he says of the problem. Dealing with racial remarks — and whether to approve them or not — “became an increasing source of frustration for me.”

Douglas wrote on his Facebook page that the comments moderation job “gets a bit mind-numbing.” In our phone chat, he added: “I tell people that I get dumber every time I read our comments section.”

Reaction to the policy change, he says, has been “overwhelmingly positive.”

* Newspaper cracks down on racial comments (robesonian.com)


Marty Baron, new Washington Post executive editor

Who will replace Marty Baron as Boston Globe editor? BU communications dean Tom Fiedler believes Baron’s replacement will “more likely” come from within the New York Times rather than the NYT-owned Globe.

“The New York Times has a very strong bench and with Jill Abramson recently taking over, a lot of those people might be a little restless,” says the former Miami Herald editor and onetime Baron colleague. (Boston Herald)
* “Demanding, detail-oriented” Baron carries respect from people who have worked with him at four major papers. (washingtonpost.com)
* He kept the Globe newsroom marching. (thephoenix.com)
* Watch a video of Baron addressing the Globe newsroom. (boston.com)

More links…
* Michael Wilbon on sports journalism: “There’s not as much good stuff being written” because of social media. (shermanreport.com)
* Science and technology journalism startup Matter posts its first article today after raising $140,000 on Kickstarter. (paidcontent.org)
* Austin Tice’s family begs for information about the missing journalist. (globalpost.com)
* NYT standards editor: A person who writes to an advice columnist “is not a confidential source in the classic sense.” (nytimes.com)
* Found Magazine founders celebrate 10 years with a 75-city tour. (bsudailynews.com)
* Penton Media buys Farm Progress magazine for $79.9 million. (chicagotribune.com)
* Stephen Colbert reveals what he plans to do with $800,000 in remaining Super PAC money. (adage.com)
* Why MTV doesn’t play music videos anymore. (adweek.com)

Warren Buffett’s World Media Enterprises says the 10,000-circulation Manassas (Va.) News & Messenger will close at the end of the year, putting 105 people out of work. “We didn’t see any way to really turn it back into a profitable enterprise, reliably, so what made the most sense was to just cease publication,” says World Media chairman Terry Kroeger. The News & Messenger, which Buffett acquired earlier this year from Media General, was founded 1869.

Kroger says World Media doesn’t plan to close any other papers. “The rest of them, we’re delighted with. It’s just this one piece of it that had something that we didn’t think we could overcome.”

* Buffett company to close Virginia paper, cut 105 jobs. (omaha.com)
* Read World Media’s message to News & Messenger readers (insidenova.com)